President Benigno S. Aquino III will lead the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of Leyte Landing on Monday, October 20. US Ambassador Philip Goldberg will also be present in the anniversary celebration.
Way back October 20, 1944 US General Douglas MacArthur returned to Philippines together with American forces to continue the campaign against Japanese occupation.
General MacArthur left the Philippines in 1942 with a promise to return. Allied forces have decided to directly attack Japan instead of fighting the battle in Philippines, however, MacArthur insisted to return to fight Imperial Japanese forces. MacArthur and US forces landed at Red Beach in Palo, Leyte.
“People of the Philippines, I have returned! By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil,” General MacArthur said upon his return.
This event started the end of Japanese occupation and resulted to the liberation of Philippines after almost three years of Japanese occupation. The Battle of Leyte started on MacArthur’s return and lasted until December 31, 1944.
Imperial Japanese Army in the Philippines was led by General Tomoyuki Yamashita.
While MacArthur actually set foot in Philippine soil October 20, 1944, preliminary operations of US forces were carried out starting October 17 for mine-sweeping tasks and establish navigation for US amphibious transports.